Coaching not to lose ends in losses for Houston and Seattle

January 13, 2020 - 12:28 am
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The Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks are both headed home after losses in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday.

Although there are a number of reasons both teams couldn't punch their ticket to Conference Championship weekend, coaching not to lose rather than going for the win was a glaring flaw that ended up being costly at the most crucial points of the season.

There are times teams should play it safe with more of a conservative approach. There are also times to be aggressive and go for it.

In the moments to keep the foot on the gas, with the season hanging in the balance on the biggest stage, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll turtled.

The Texans, already with an astonishing 21-point lead in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, were once again knocking on the door at the opposing 13-yard line. Houston needed just one yard to convert a fourth down and potentially put another demoralizing seven points on the Chiefs. Instead, O'Brien elected to kick the field goal and push the lead to 24-0.

Having a 24-0 lead in a tough road environment is a great situation to be in, but you don't trust an elite quarterback like Deshaun Watson to get you one yard? To potentially go up four touchdowns?

It wasn't just that one decision that showed O'Brien's conservative mentality. After the Chiefs took just two plays to score their first touchdown of the game, O'Brien and the Texans offense decided to dial up two straight run plays, up the middle with running back Carlos Hyde.

Likely feeling the pressure after Watson failed to convert a third-and-4 attempt to wide receiver Will Fuller, O'Brien decides to be aggressive and fake a punt with a direct snap to a safety. It ends up falling short of the sticks, giving Kansas City the ball on Houston's 33-yard line.

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